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A new business for Madison County?

A new business for Madison County?

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Marijuana has become a hot topic statewide and possibly, locally.

Last week, supervisors voiced their support for an application that would create a medical cannabis operation at the former Box In, Box Out location on U.S. 29. The operation would fulfill a desire by the state to have medical marijuana dispensaries in the five health service areas in the state. No such facility currently exists in health service area one, which encompasses the Shenandoah Valley and Charlottesville. Earlier this year, the Board of Pharmacy approved five conditional licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries, one for each region. However, in June, the board denied an extension request for MedMen and rescinded its conditional license to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in Staunton. The company was associated with PharmaCann, the facility originally awarded the conditional permit in 2018. That left the health service area open and the Board of Pharmacy issued a Request for Applications. Now, numerous counties are racing to be the one that fills that gap.

During last week’s board of supervisors meeting, Dr. Patricia Frye spoke about the idea of utilizing the former Box In, Box Out location for a medical cannabis dispensary. She is a Madison-based physician who practices cannabis medicine. She is working with B&M JG Wellness, who is submitting the application to the Board of Pharmacy. She said the dispensary would bring a considerable amount of tax revenue and jobs to the county. She said the operation would be seed to sale with a pharmacist in charge. She said the company already has a letter of intent with the property owner, noting the parcel is well-zoned, with easy access and security. She estimates the business would start with 50 employees, eventually growing to 100.

County planner Ligon Webb said the property, which consists of a 38,000 sq. ft. building on 11.6 acres, is zoned industrial M-1, which allows for a commercial greenhouse as a by-right use.

Supervisor Carty Yowell said he supports the idea.

“I see no reason to not support this,” he said. “It’s agriculture.”

Board of supervisors chairman Clay Jackson agreed.

“This is low impact,” he said. “It goes along with our comprehensive plan.”

Madison County Economic Development and Tourism Director Tracey Gardner said her department also supports the idea, noting that the Central Virginia Economic Development Partnership, of which Madison County is a member, supports this type of agriculture.

The supervisors agreed to send a letter in support of the application to the Board of Pharmacy.

Meanwhile, other counties are doing similar things. Albemarle County Supervisors have voiced their support for Holistic Virginia LLC’s application to create the medical marijuana dispensary. Orange County leaders are supporting Trulieve VA’s application. Nelson County leaders are supporting an unnamed company’s creation of a facility in the county’s Colleen Business Park and Fluvanna leaders are supporting YAE Wellness LLC’s application.

It remains to be seen which company will win out. The deadline for applications was Friday, Dec. 4.

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